Do what you love

The other day, one of my students asked me, “Ms. Evans… was it always your dream to become a teacher?”

I had to stop and think. As a child, I had some wild ideas about what I would be when I grew up. A singer? A dancer? A doctor? A lawyer? A teacher? A writer? An actress? A movie director? An FBI AGENT? (No lie… I actually wanted to be one for a while…)

But when it came down to it- when I was forced to declare a major back in college… it all came down to what my gifts were and where my passions lay. It had to be writing or teaching.

So, I went after what I loved.

And became a teacher who writes. Or a writer who teaches… depending on how you want to look at it.

And in that moment, I realized just how thankful I was that I was doing what I genuinely… LOVED. I wasn’t stuck in some dead end job trying to make ends meet… drudging through each day with the weekend as my only respite to what was otherwise an exercise in futility. I mean… how many people can say that? “I love what I do and I’m doing what I love.”

Can you say that? Because if you can’t… I encourage you to go for what you really want. Even if your dead end job is just a means to an end… work at it and stick with it and keep your eyes on that end result… because truly, it’s never too late. And life is too short. So, find what you love and do it.

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Jackpot

So, I may have mentioned previously that I’m dating someone.

I know…

wait what

Since I’ve been gone so long I never really mentioned it.

But I am.

When people found out they were either…

finally

or…

too soon

Dating really wasn’t even on my radar. Living where I live, the odds of meeting an educated, intelligent, well-rounded, responsible male who didn’t live for football season and drink himself into a stupor every time his team lost… was unlikely. Furthermore, the odds of me going online to find a relationship? Puh-lease… I have a hard enough time reading people in person. I was not going to go online and take my chances building a relationship through texts and e-mails.

And then… the man (as he will subsequently be referred to as) asked me out. Now, to clarify, I had known the man for over a year before he worked up the courage to ask me out. And when I had met him the previous year, my first thought had been (and no, I’m not making this up…), “Oh goodness. We are totally going to date, aren’t we? Maybe even get married. Wait. What? I just met you. That’s weird. New train of thought, Annie. If he could hear you right now, he’d know you were a psycho…” I mean, I INSTANTLY clicked with him. And that’s never happened before.

But even when he asked me out, I wasn’t looking for anyone. Even though it had been a full 3 and a half years since my husband had walked out, I really wasn’t looking to date. So, when he did ask me out, I was all, “Um… can we do that? Is it too soon? Is it too late? I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE TIMELINE REQUIREMENTS, HERE!!!”

So, we went on a date. And it went shockingly well. And then we went on another… and then I got freaked out and took 15 steps back…. but then we had another date… and another… and another… and before I knew it, we were like, grossly in love with each other and all, “Yup. I found the one I want to keep.”

You guys… THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. I like… fell in love with someone. I’ve never been in love with anyone! And honestly, sometimes I’m like, “How has this never happened before?! I am 20 years behind everyone else! This is what that feels like? WHO KNEW?!” Clearly, I’ve been a bit stunted in the relationship department. My bad.

But anyway, we started dating, and one of the first things I noticed about him that made me go…

surprised

I have found the rarest creature in the history of creation…

was the fact that the man… had his CRAP together.

And by having his crap together, I mean…

  • He was financially stable.
  • He knew what it meant to be a contributing member of society.
  • He did his own dishes and cleaned his own house.
  • He didn’t play with Legos.
  • He knew how to parent and selflessly put the needs of his children first.
  • He knew how to remodel and do home maintenance.
  • He was ridiculously good with money.
  • He didn’t drink.
  • He READ BOOKS.
  • He cooked amazingly tasty meals… and desserts… and appetizers.
  • He didn’t avoid conflict.
  • He was honest.
  • He was emotionally mature.
  • He was smart and didn’t talk out of his… um… rear end.
  • He’d clean my carpets, do my taxes, straighten my classroom, take care of Winston, and even do my dishes… if it meant it would help me out in some way.

Um… I’m sorry. Come again?

I HAD FOUND THE LEGENDARY MAGICAL UNICORN OF THE MALE SPECIES.

I HAD HIT THE JACKPOT.

(Actually, you know what? Instead of “the man”, let’s just call him “Jack”.)

Everything is good and awesome and wonderful about this scenario.

With the exception of one thing…

I don’t have my crap together.

I blame it on the fact that I’m seven years younger than him and childless… but still. Financially secure? Ha! I make less than a seventeen year old at McDonald’s. (No, I’m not exaggerating. Catholic Schools pay shockingly little.) Doing dishes and cleaning my house? WHAT TEACHER HAS TIME FOR THAT?! Remodeling and doing home maintenance? My brother got me an electric drill for Christmas. I still don’t know how to use it. In some ways, his awesomeness makes me feel like a kid… who knows shockingly little about the world. I mean, he’s someone I admire and respect but… I’ve never been in this situation before. I’ve always been the one to have their crap together… I’ve been the magical unicorn in the equation. And now? Now I don’t have to work nearly as hard.

Which is good… but intimidating.

I mean, how long before he starts to notice?

Who told you that?

Who told you that?

Who told you you weren’t good enough?

Who told you you were lacking in some way?

Who told you you didn’t measure up, meet the requirements, pass the test?

Who told you that?

Because it wasn’t me.

Maybe you haven’t been listening but I thought I was being perfectly clear.

You ARE good enough.

You AREN’T lacking.

You measure up. You meet the requirements. You pass the test.

Not because of who you are, of course. But because of who I am.

You don’t have to prove anything to me. I’ve already proven it. I’ve given you what you need; helped you meet the requirements, helped you pass the tests. But at some point, you forgot. You thought it wasn’t enough. You thought I wasn’t enough.

Daughter, I will always be more than enough.

And because of that, you have nothing to prove. You lack nothing. You are good enough.

You are mine.

Be careful what you wish for…

Be careful what you wish for… you might just get it.

Isn’t that what we’re always warned about? You wish for something, that wish comes true, and it turns out the grass really was greener on the original side of the fence?

I wonder if the same thing goes for what you pray for. Be careful what you pray for… you might just get it.

But I suppose that’s how things work in an imperfect world. Nothing is perfect. Therefore, if nothing is perfect, then the after-affects, the consequences of an imperfect world must be imperfect as well. Even with perfect intentions, there are pluses and minuses, pros and cons. Nothing is perfect. Perfection is impossible in an imperfect world. So, even if you wish for perfection, you’ll never get perfection – you’ll get reality – and that’s the downside of the whole thing.

It’s funny when you look back on the things you once wished for – things from long ago, and things more recent. Sometimes we wonder, “Why did I ever want something like that?” Other times we wistfully think, “If I could only grasp that one thing…” That was my mood today. While waxing philosophically, I was thinking back on things I wished for… things I prayed for… and I was taking account of answered prayers and unanswered prayers. Some of the unanswered prayers were blessings in disguise. (No, scratch that. ALL of the unanswered prayers were blessings in disguise.) While some of the answered prayers were among the greatest challenges, the things that forced me to grow and stretch – especially when I didn’t want to.

Case in point: When I was younger (Okay, not that much younger. I’m not that old to begin with…)… college-aged… young and naive about my future… restless and adventurous and slightly rebellious… I used to pray for a life less ordinary.

I didn’t want an ordinary life. I wanted a life full of surprises and adventure and wild expectations and miracles. I didn’t want a house in the suburbs with a stable job and 2.3 kids, a trustworthy husband named Stewart, a golden retriever named Lady and a reliable car that got 15 mpg. No. I wanted to live by faith, and I wanted to see God do great things and I wanted to achieve great things and go where God led me.

And now… 10 years later… I think I actually got what I prayed for. Which at 32 years old isn’t what I really want at all. At 32 years old what I really, REALLY want is a house in the suburbs with a stable job and 2.3 kids, a trustworthy husband named Stewart, a golden retriever named Lady and a reliable car that gets 15 mpg. But instead I have an apartment in a podunk farming town, no kids, a husband who left me, an emotionally insecure cat and a 10 year old car whose rusty bumper is about to fall off. I work at a CATHOLIC school for very, VERY little pay, I have zero financial security, a ridiculously boring social life, my parents are gone and I have zero family nearby and… and… and the highlight of my days is going to Mass with my second graders. I’m excited about possibly becoming Catholic, and taking my kids on a field trip, and getting them involved in their church, and learning all I can about all the things I never knew about my faith. And here’s the really bizarre thing: I. LOVE. IT. It’s exciting and adventurous and miracles (big and small) are happening every day and I’m literally hanging on for dear life not having a clue which direction God is going to take me in and yet loving every single minute of not knowing and not having a plan but feeling all giddy because I know it will be good. It might be slightly uncomfortable at first… it might require me to stretch and grow… it might force me out of my comfort zone… but it thrills me!

It’s… in no uncertain terms… a life less ordinary. And there are days when I hate it and lament it and abhor it. Days when I want to get off the roller coaster and get back on the swing set. Days when I ask God (like I did just last week), “Can I PLEASE stop growing now? I’m about as strong as I can get. I’m good here. Just… let’s just leave it be… seriously. I’m tired. All done. Annie go nigh-nigh.” But that’s what you get when you ask for a life less ordinary. You might just get what you ask for.

And most days? I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Is this thing on?

Holy.

Crappers.

It’s been so long since I’ve written on here, that I couldn’t remember my log-in or password.

Worse yet, I couldn’t actually remember the name of my blog.

That’s shameful. And pathetic. And for that I am truly, truly sorry.

It’s just that…

LIFE.

All of a sudden it reared it’s ridiculously beautiful head and I was off and running and haven’t had a chance to catch my breath.

Because now there are new questions and challenges of love and faith and truth… and it’s all been so entirely captivating that I haven’t needed to write about it because it was enough to just revel in it.

I know. None of that makes any sense. But to me? It makes perfect sense. And that sense makes everything so much more beautiful and lovely and now… now? Every day is a new chance to find out something NEW… to be inspired… to be grown and stretched and challenged.

And yes, this is all bordering on gag-worthy schmaltz, but… it’s just… been magical unicorns and dancing butterflies for the past three months.

Even with every hardship and heartbreak and ugly situation… God has been in the lead… and He’s leading me in ways I never imagined. And that’s the most exciting, thrilling, challenging thing of all. Leaving all control with Him who knows it all.

 

Back and better than ever

First of all, allow me to apologize for my extended absence. 10 days? 10 DAYS?! What is that?! That’s a new record for sure. I mean, I had good reason and all, but holy crappers I missed you guys.

Secondly, THANK YOU for the words of encouragement and prayers. I and my family so appreciate it. My mom is doing well and I KNOW that my God is a God of miracles… with Him all things are possible… so I refuse to be fearful and worrisome. He’s got this.

Thirdly, I’m totally jamming to Stevie Wonder on the oldies station here in town. Stevie is the bomb. And anyone who says otherwise is a total dumbass.

So… get this, you guys…

This sweet little Protestant girl is TOTALLY loving her job at the Catholic school.

Like, loving it to the point that I come home giddy, go to bed giddy and get up giddy. The giddiness is bordering on ridiculous and slightly gross. But I can’t help it, I’m just all…

and…

with a little of this…

It’s just…

There are no words for how much I love this stupid job.

My kiddos? I could hug them until their eyes pop out.

My coworkers? I could high-five the crap out of them.

My principal? I could hug her and kiss her and call her George.

The fathers? All of the above.

It is just the BEST job.

Yesterday we had mass. BEST. HOMILY. EVER.

Next week we’re praying the rosary as a school. And I’m EXCITED.

In a month or two it will be my turn to lead mass. And I’m THRILLED.

What is happening?!

I even got excited about the pope.

THE POPE, PEOPLE.

Protestants do NOT get excited about the pope.

We don’t do popes. We think popes are silly and frivolous. And instead I’m all… “Did you HEAR what the pope said?”

What is that?!

*sigh*

I have no intention of becoming Catholic, but I’m beginning to realize our differences are much fewer than I thought they were. And I had the best discussion about Catholicism with Father McCutie. (Yes, that’s his nickname now. Deal.) And I want to give all the Catholics a hug and a high five.

My life has become so weird.

And I love it.

So, I guess my point is…

Well, I have no point. Except to say, “I’m back. And better than ever.”

Squeeee!

 

The You-Know-What Has Just Hit the Fan

I know I’ve been MIA more often than usual.

I also know I’ve been harrible at maintaining my weekly “Hmm…” post.

I also haven’t taken the time to visit my bloggity peeps to tweet and retweet their content and all the fun stuff that comes with having a blog.

For any and all of the above, I apologize.

Some of it has been the new school year, and trying to keep my head screwed on straight.

Some of it has been to wrap my mind around the you-know-what that has just hit the fan.

You see, I just found out on Friday that my mom is sick. Sick with the “c” word.

I absolutely hate my life right now. If I could, I would bury my head in the sand and not pop back up for another year and a half until the storm has passed. If I could, I would avoid all of this. I’ve never been one to run away from things, but this? This is worthy of running away from. Not that running away would accomplish much of anything, but it would help me out immensely right now.

I don’t know details about much of anything… and honestly, I don’t know that I want to know any details. All I know is that I’m clinging to my faith like never before, and praying and praying and praying for a miracle. Because I can’t do this again. I just can’t. Being an orphan does not sound like much fun. So, I’m keeping my focus on Him, on His word, on His promises, on His goodness and grace and trusting Him to turn this around for good. Because I just can’t do anything else right now.

I’ve been asking close friends to pray. They promise they will. Then they go about with their lives as usual. Which inexplicably enrages me. I want to scream, “WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! DID YOU NOT HEAR WHAT I JUST SAID?! DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON IS GOING THROUGH SOMETHING HUGELY DIFFICULT RIGHT NOW? HOW CAN YOU NOT CARE?! HOW CAN YOU BE SO SELFISH?!”

And then I realize that that is silly and stupid. Other peoples’ lives don’t stop because you’re dealing with something hard. But I wish they would. Because that only seems fair.

So, if you’re of the praying Christian persuasion, I would really appreciate some prayers. Prayers for healing. Prayers for faith.

I’ll try to write when I can.

Later, peeps.